Dear readers: Your responses about valuable traits you learned from your fathers were truly inspiring. Here are a few more of my favorites.
Dear Annie: My father instilled in me two thoughts that I hold onto every day. I have passed these on to my grandchildren.
No. 1: You only have one chance to make a good first impression when meeting someone. Look them in the eye; give them a firm handshake; and say their name.
No. 2: You will go through life meeting and knowing lots of people. Some will be smarter than you; some will be better-looking than you; some will have an easier way of doing things than you. But I don’t want to ever hear anyone saying they are more honest than you. — Victor P.
Dear Annie: When I was in the fifth grade (way back in the late ’80s), I was taking music lessons at school. My grandparents weren’t able to come to the concert, so when we visited them eight hours away, they wanted to hear my sister and me play our clarinets. I had an extreme case of stage fright and couldn’t play in front of them. My grandfather came to me and said: “You can do anything if you try. You just need to take smaller steps.” He then set up my music stand in the hallway so that nobody could see me and I couldn’t see them. I was able to perform! Soon, I was able to come out from behind the wall and perform in front of them. Now when anything feels too overwhelming, I always think of him and his advice: “Take smaller steps.” — Joe S.
Dear Annie: My dad was a farmer. His priorities were faith, family and friends. He treated our mom with love and respect, always had time for us (his 11 children) and had many, many friends in the community. Daily prayer was one of his most valuable traits. — Guy C.
Dear Annie: Mine was a father who said: “I will teach you my values. I will advise you on the potential consequences of your choices, but I will not tell you what to do.” Here are several of those values that my father gave me that have guided my life and for which I have been sincerely grateful.
No. 1: “When you choose your behavior, you choose the consequences of that behavior.”
No. 2: “If you have to cheat to win, you lose much more than you won.”
No. 3: “If you have to put someone down in an effort to make yourself look better, you fail at both.” — Francis D.
Dear Annie: The most valuable trait that I inherited from my dad was by far his work ethic. The man went from not having a high school education to being vice president and lobbyist for a major corporation. He started out delivering pharmaceuticals on a motorcycle as a teen, and when my older sister and I were born, he was collecting coins from pay telephones for the telephone company. He was a firm believer that you and only you had to go after whatever you wanted out of life. You may win; you may lose. Not everyone would get the trophy. In the end, fail or succeed (though failing was never a good option), you had the feeling you gave it your best and came out a wiser person for your effort. I am retired now. My work accomplishments have paralleled his, and I owe my success and my work ethic to my dad. — Florida Kid with a Great Dad
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.